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The Shane Speal newsletter for 10/29: What it's like to be the "King of the Cigar Box Guitar," two major Snake Oil concerts this week (York PA and NYC) + a free unreleased song for you to download (link at the end of this letter).
The ragged wood floor.
The possessed scowl on my face.
The shining street light gleaming in from a dirty, rainy street.
I used this photo for my posters and other promo material for several years. It made me look like the King of the Cigar Box Guitar, a hard-driving, successful bangin' roots rocker who played 300 gigs a year
You'd think I paid some big wad of cash for this photo session, but I didn't. A fellow cigar box guitar maker asked me back in 2009 if he could snap a few photos at my Wednesday open mic down at the tiny First Capital Dispensing Co. pub. Little did I know he was award-winning wedding and art photographer, John McElligott of KM Photography.
He gave me this photo.
The reality was, I only made $100 at this gig and could have never afforded any kind of photo shoot, let alone a John McElligott session. However, when I put the photo on my posters, people thought I was one of those fancy musicians who made it to the top.
But I wasn't at the top. I was just playing a weekly gig at my favorite dive bar.
Four years later, I'm about to play two of my highest profile shows ever. On Friday, my Snake Oil Band has been asked to perform at the historic Strand Theater in York PA along with gypsy swing act, Caravan of Thieves. On Saturday, we will drive up to New York City for our Manhattan debut at the Metropolitan Room jazz and caberet club. (Those highlighted words are links to buy tickets. Please come out.) We're rockin' hard and commanding bigger stages. Yeah, baby! Wooooooo! The press is covering the shows. The band is primed and ready. We've got the rubber chickens and confetti cannons loaded. It's on!
Oh...if you can't make it to the big shows on Friday or Saturday, I'll still be running my open mic on Wednesday at the tiny First Capital Dispensing Co...my favorite little dive bar.
When people see me on the big stages in York PA and NYC, they'll see that possessed scowl on my face as I crank the blues. But behind the scowl is pure euphoria, a sense of wonder that people enjoy hearing me play my cigar box guitar. One euphoric smile from one thankful musician.
That's the real blues life.
I've included a Free Download at the bottom of this page: I've placed a link at the bottom of this page for a free download. The song is called "Raga 10.27.13" and is an instrumental song I recorded on Sunday with my 6-string broomstick cigar box guitar (pictured: right). I've been experimenting with dissonant guitar tunings and this was one of the improv pieces. It's a little weird, but I kinda like it. Thanks for taking the time to read these emails each week
BUY TICKETS FOR THE SHANE SPEAL SNAKE OIL BAND SHOWS THIS WEEK:
Friday, Nov. 1 @ 8pm Strand Capital Theatre w/Caravan of Thieves, York, PA: Tickets: $15
Saturday, Nov. 2 @ 11:30pm Metropolitan Room, Manhattan NYC Tickets: $25
Double Neck Cigar Box Guitar
$225 (save $20)
Last one left in stock
Electric Diddley Bow
DOWNLOAD THE FREE MP3, "RAGA 10.27.13" AT http://shanespeal.com/free-download